Today hubby and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. It seems like yesterday I was sticking the smelling salts under my silver watchband as I stood in the Narthex of the church just prior to walking down the aisle on the arm of my father to my nervously awaiting groom (Episcopal weddings are L-O-N-G and I am known to faint when I’m really nervous). I absolutely could not get my lips and body to stop quivering.
We met each other in junior high and had our first date when we were seniors in high school. We dated eight years before getting married (three of those years we were engaged) and much of that was long distance dating while we completed college. We both wanted to be completely finished with all schooling with degrees in hand before marriage, a decision we’ve never regretted.
We were married August 2, 1985 at 8 pm at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, TN. Marriage in the Episcopal church is serious business. We had gone through the three required sessions of premarital counseling with the priest who married us. Our Banns of Marriage had been published on three separate occasions. The Banns of Marriage is a public announcement of an intended marriage to determine if any “matrimonial impediments” exist. I don’t think they publish Banns of Marriage anymore.
I was late getting to the church on my wedding day (by no fault of my own) but we won’t talk about that– it’s a long story. My mother seemed really nervous to me and I didn’t find out the cause of her nervousness until hubby and I returned from our honeymoon. She had decided on my wedding day that she would iron my veil when I was out running last-minute errands (the veil that was hand-made and borrowed from a neighbor) and she burned a hole right through that veil when she got the iron too hot. She panicked and was so upset with herself. Everyone decided it was best that I not know anything about it. I never noticed!
We spent our wedding night at Opryland Hotel…. the room was a wedding gift from my sister and brother-in-law. We got to the hotel around midnight and my new husband swooped me off my feet and carried me over the threshold. We were happy and nervous, anxious and awkward that night, and our innocence and naiveté were palpable. We were exhausted after a late wedding and starving as neither of us had eaten all day. The bite of wedding cake we fed each other for photos was the extent of my nourishment since breakfast early that morning. And to top it all off, I had forgotten to pack my toothbrush!
The next morning we left for our honeymoon (after stopping to get a toothbrush). Our destination? The Poconos Honeymoon Resorts in Pennsylvania. The next day we arrived at Brookdale in the Poconos. For the next three days we were wined and dined and took long strolls in the woods, rode bikes, went paddle boating, rode horses, took long soaks in the jacuzzi and sweated in the sauna, and even tried our hand at Archery. We were coerced into playing The Newlywed Game up on a stage in front of hundreds of people (and we WON)! We didn’t miss a single question. Our prize was a bottle of Champagne and a trophy.
From there, we drove to Niagara Falls. It’s where I had always wanted to go on my honeymoon. The weather was perfect and beautiful with golden warm sunny weather and sapphire blue skies. We rode Maid of the Mist, went on tours on the Canadian side, and took romantic strolls through the woods around the falls on the American side. At night we sat on benches holding hands admiring the beautiful display of colored lights on water and listening to the roar of the falls. We watched other honeymooners sneak a kiss by the falls and occasionally we snuck one too.
Best. Honeymoon. Ever.
We celebrated the 32nd with dinner out. Then we went and enjoyed a Hot Fudge Cake…. our anniversary tradition.
He filled me with love when he gave me these today.
We’ve been through a lot during the last 32 years.
We’ve bought two homes. We’ve had neighbors we’ve loved and some we didn’t like so much.
We suffered through a miscarriage and then went on to raise two beautiful sons. We’ve welcomed and loved nieces and nephews.
We suffered, grieved and learned what sacrifice was all about when both my parents were diagnosed with cancer. We buried them and learned just how hard it is to say goodbye to family you love.
We’ve shared good times with old friends, made some new friends, and buried other friends.
We’ve helped each other through illnesses and surgeries, accidents and injuries.
We’ve cheered each other during successes and supported each other during failures.
We’ve shared our home with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, turtles and birds. And we’ve wept and grieved hard when we’ve lost our furry, feathered and scaled friends to old age or illness.
Though neither of us are big travelers, we’ve been blessed to have had some wonderful vacations where we’ve made precious memories. We’ve also made holiday traditions with family that I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world.
We’ve watched wrinkles and age spots and gray hairs creep up on us in the mirror and it’s been a little scary. Like every marriage, we’ve had our share of good times and laughter and hard times and tears. But through it all, we’ve grown.
Today, I realized there’s always been a constant in our lives and in our marriage. Love. Always love. Here’s to another 32!